Far-right clash with police and block roads in protests against refugees
PUBLISHED: 13:49 05 September 2020 | UPDATED: 14:31 05 September 2020
PA Wire/PA Images
Far-right, anti-migrant protesters have clashed with police and blocked roads in Dover.
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Rival groups have assembled in Dover to demonstrate over the arrival of thousands of migrants in small boats.
Traffic on the A20 was at a standstill in both directions after protesters assembled on the road in large numbers.
Many wore Union flag face masks and carried banners. Some shouted “England til I die”, “freedom” and “get these scum off our streets” and sang Rule, Britannia.
At one point several officers were seen restraining a person on the ground before making an arrest.
There have been other sporadic clashes with the group of at least 50 police officers by the A20.
It is thought that groups from across the country have travelled to Dover.
A heavy police presence was also in place in the town, with a large concentration of officers in Market Square, where pro-migrant activists made their stand.
Anti-racist group Hope Not Hate had previously raised concerns there will be violence and that splintered elements of the British far-right may travel to Dover.
The Kent town saw ugly clashes in 2016 when rival protest groups assembled to demonstrate over immigration.
Dr Joe Mulhall said there had been a build-up of anger among the far-right as migrant crossings have continued.
He said: “It’s one that has a potential for popular support so a lot of the grifters on the far-right are not going to let an opportunity like this go by.
“There’s a danger that there will be violence, Dover has a history of that.”
Dover MP Natalie Elphicke has urged people to stay away from the protests given the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic.
She said: “A protest in Dover in the middle of a pandemic is not a sensible or responsible thing to do. We cannot risk a second wave – protesters should stay away from Dover this weekend.
“Police resources are better used fighting crime than policing political demonstrations.”
A peaceful counterdemonstration took place in the town centre with campaigners showing their support for refugees.
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